Not all children are born like most children. There are also children who are born special who require special treatment in living various aspects of life, including education. Children with special needs often find it difficult to enter regular schools because they are not friendly to students with disabilities. There is another alternative for parents, namely sending their children to inclusive schools.
What is an Inclusive School?
Inclusive schools are schools that accept regular students and students with special needs in one room, regardless of physical, intellectual, emotional, social and other conditions. With the assistive technology, there is no longer any limitation on access to education between students with disabilities and non-disabled students.
One of the determinants of the success of inclusive schools is the availability of assistive technology. Why? UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan, said that access to assistive technology makes it easier for children with disabilities to attend education and encourages all their potential.
Get to Know Assistive Technology
In short, assistive technology is a series of technological products developed with the aim of ‘assisting’ (helping) children with special needs in carrying out daily activities such as communication and learning.
Although it cannot completely replace professional teaching staff, this technology is quite effective in helping students who have difficulty concentrating, reading, writing and so on. Assistive technology is not all ‘high-tech’. Assistive technology comes from simple ‘low-tech’ such as seat cushions, to more complex technology with artificial intelligence support such as text to speech.
Now, after getting to know assistive technology, especially in the education sector, Widya will tell you the advantages of assistive technology for students and teachers. Check this out!
Advantages of Assistive Technology for Students and Teachers
Here are 6 advantages of using assistive technology in the school and classroom environment.
- The way of teaching is more varied so that it can support a variety of children’s learning styles.
- Improve knowledge retention. The variety of assistive technology users in the classroom allows lessons to be more interesting for children. So that knowledge retention is also better.
- Allows students to engage more with the teacher and the lesson. Reporting from the Walden University website, 84% of teachers reported that the use of technology and the internet to compile subject matter proved to be more effective.
- Provide equal learning opportunities for all students.
- Opening children’s eyes to technology so that children are ready to face the digital future.
- Teachers to be able to use time more effectively and efficiently. From compiling subject matter to accompanying students intensely.
Use Cases and Examples of Assistive Technology in Education
In Indonesia, in 2011 there were as many as 23% of inclusive schools that provided a variety of special equipment, a variety of learning media and a number of material resources aimed at students with learning difficulties, cognitive impairments, students with other disabilities and regular students.
Then, what are some examples of assistive technology that can be used in class? Come on, see 10 examples below!
- Screen reader
Screen readers such as NVDA (non visual desktop access) can help visually impaired or visually impaired children interact with computers using sound.
- Seat Cushion
Wiggle seat cushion is a ‘low-tech’ sensory solution technology that is suitable for hyperactive students (ADHD) and autism.
- Eye-tracking Technology
By using eye-tracking students can control the computer or move the cursor using only their eyes.
- Smart Pen
To activate this tool, students only need to touch the smart pen to a word and the smart pen will voice the word out loud.
- Alternative Mouse and Keyboard
Schools can provide a mouse in the form of a trackball, touchpad or head mouse and a keyboard in the form of an on-screen keyboard or touch screen.
- Braille Device and Hearing Aid
Children with visual and hearing disabilities need these two tools to help them read and hear the subject matter.
- JAWS (Job Access With Speech)
Similar to the concept of text to speech which can convert text into sound, the difference is that this technology is also able to read Braille writing, you know. It should be used as an alternative to reading in braille.
- I-Chat (I Can Hear and Talk)
I-Chat is a learning software that uses a computer-based sign language. Interestingly, the I-Chat application is available in Indonesian and Malaysian (Malay), you know.
- Text to Speech
This smart technology supported by artificial intelligence is able to convert writing into audio, so TTS can read writing to children quickly and accurately. Good writing on the web, blogs, articles and books (audiobooks).
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